Oracle Digital Assistant comparison

If you're evaluating Digital Assistant options for your workforce, you will almost certainly come across some of the big name vendors and their solutions. It's not always easy to compare the ins and outs of different software solutions, so in this post we would like to highlight similarities and differences between the Oracle Digital Assistant (ODA) and adenin Digital Assistant (ADA). We've sourced our data from Oracle's website and a recent report by TechTarget - straight from the horse's mouth. Naturally, we're our own source, and although we know we're great, we'll try not to be biased!

Product description

Oracle describes their Digital Assistant offering as "providing the platform and tools to easily build AI-powered assistants that connect to your backend applications. A digital assistant uses artificial intelligence for natural language processing and understanding, to automate engagements with conversational interfaces that respond instantly, improve user satisfaction, and increase business efficiencies."

Whereas adenin claims their Digital Assistant "continuously scans all of your users business data for updates, and answers questions using Natural Language Processing (NLP). With its intelligent Cards that show key information at-a-glance the user can take instant action, like approving a request. Central to the platform is the data-agnostic approach that integrates all RESTful APIs and legacy databases, and the digital experience by connecting the Assistant to smart home assistants, chatbots, or existing Intranets."

What stands out: Oracle hits the buzzwords. AI is mentioned twice, automation, conversational interfaces and of course the all important increase in business efficiency. But what does it actually do? The description seems to imply that their Digital Assistant solution is more akin to the Microsoft Bot Framework - that is, you can build your own chatbots for different use cases. In contrast, adenin makes their use case clear from the get-go - enterprise search, notifications and actions across any data, APIs or databases on any device, whether it's a phone, an Alexa device or SharePoint. They try to cram in as much versatility as possible.

Deployment options

Oracle: The service is built on the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Oracle's IaaS technology. As with its other cloud services, Oracle manages the platform components in addition to patches, backups and other administrative functions.

adenin: Digital Assistant is available in 3 managed versions; small, medium and large, with small being free. Enterprise plans also include the capability to run on-premise instances behind a firewall as well as hybrid cloud deployment, and gives you all the functionality of the adenin AI engine without requiring an Internet connection.

What stands out: Oracle's all-in-one deployment solution has its upsides and downsides for enterprise; some IT departments might prefer the hands-off approach of letting a third party manage everything, whilst others might be concerned about vendor lock-in and controlling the flow of and access to sensitive business information. adenin's inclusivity of an on-premises deployment option gives enterprises the flexibility to choose what works best for them, whilst maintaining vendor neutrality.

What happened since launch?

adenin Digital Assistant showing key information at-a-glance
adenin Digital Assistant showing key information at-a-glance

Oracle: Oracle launched 'Intelligent Bots' as part of the Cloud Mobile Platform in October 2017 as a way to build conversational, AI-driven interfaces that employees or customers could query through chat tools. Exactly a year later in October 2018 it was relaunched as Oracle Digital Assistant with the ability to link end users to multiple bots, so the emphasis on chatbots remains to this day.

adenin: We released Digital Assistant in April 2016 as the world's first AI-powered Assistant for the workplace with the plan to create a new UI that shows the user only the things they needed to see in that moment and none of the webparts/portlets/widgets that traditional Intranets showed you. Since then through customer feedback we've added a configurable Dashboard for persistent Cards (called the 'Board'), the capability to embed Cards and created an entire AI-powered search that users can even speak to through Alexa devices or their Google Assistant.

Development workflow

Oracle: ODA "supports no-code development that doesn't require any programming skills or AI expertise, enabling business users to create digital assistants." It lets developers "build skills that work with different Oracle applications into one digital assistant for streamlined access to application services" but also "includes a skills catalog where custom-built skills can be saved for reuse and a Skill Store repository that contains skills developed by Oracle."

adenin: ADA is built on-top of HTML5 Web Components made by Google's Polymer team, thus supports reusability and wide browser compatibility out of the box. With the low-code, browser-based Card Designer, developers can customize the look and feel of Cards and insert Web Components freely into their design. Using a dynamic layouting language called "Liquid", the Card Designer makes it easy to marry together a layout with the data it should display. The real star of the show is the Card Hub, which features ready-made integrations and Cards to over 50 popular business applications that can either be used straight away or be further customized with the Card Designer.

What stands out: Oracle's Digital Assistant uses text as the primary input and output; this is in line with their intended use-case of chatbots, but also puts a hard limit on what each chatbot can do. adenin's Digital Assistant uses HTML5 Web Components and Adaptive Cards, greatly expanding the functionality of Cards and chatbot responses. Both solutions offer a repository of integrations, but where Oracle focuses on their own ecosystem, adenin provides a wide range of integrations for different enterprise applications, as well as Cards for ADA.

Available integrations

Oracle: When building digital assistants, developers add "skills" that are specific to Oracle applications -- for example, its Customer Experience, ERP and HR software applications. Users can interact with the ODA through the proprietary web chat as part of Service Cloud, but skills can also be configured to target other enterprise chat clients like Skype for Business and Slack.

adenin: Digital Assistant is a data-agnostic integration platform, thus it is designed to integrate any data an organization has; RESTful APIs in the cloud or on-premise, databases, and even some SOA applications. Users can use Digital Assistant through the web app, on a mobile device, through the browser extension, embedded into other pages, available on enterprise chat tools like Slack, or as skills available on smart home assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant.

What stands out: Whilst Oracle will have tighter control over the Oracle data it integrates, if you want to show data that isn't part of the Oracle ecosystem you may face an uphill battle. Primarily, ODA only works with Oracle applications and can output responses to a limited number of channels. Comparatively, adenin's API-based approach is open and universal; ADA will accept any data you give to it, and show that data on almost any device or application - even embedded into a company Intranet or in cars with Android Auto.

In summary

Although at first glance the Digital Assistant offerings from Oracle and adenin appear similar, they are inherently different. Oracle's Digital Assistant allows businesses to create chatbots for different use-cases, structured around Oracle's application ecosystem. The service is hosted and managed by Oracle, is accessible via Oracle applications and focuses on creating a conversational interface between Oracle enterprise apps and the end user. On the other hand, adenin's Digital Assistant includes chatbot functionality as a feature, not a primary offering. adenin's Digital Assistant can be accessed across a variety of platforms and devices, provides real-time notifications, actionable Cards and enterprise-wide search, as well as chatbot functionality across a variety of channels; and importantly, it can integrate with almost any business application or data source.

adenin Digital Assistant with Assistant Card UI
adenin Digital Assistant with Assistant Card UI

In choosing between these two offerings, it's important to consider both your current application infrastructure as well as your imagined use-case for your Digital Assistant. Think about what do you want it to help users do, and what you want to achieve overall by implementing a Digital Assistant for the workplace. You can then review our analysis to help you determine the best fit for your business.

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